EU Alumni perspective: Katie McNeil
Name: Katie McNeil
Graduation Year: 2006
Current Position: Marketing Principal of Client Advisory
City and State: Clawson, Michigan
Tell us about your career and what you do now.
I work for a Fortune 500 technology services company managing their client advisory board (CAB) program. We have a set of strategic clients in each of our regions around the world who represent over 40% of our annual revenue, and we meet with them regionally for a few days, once or twice a year. In those CAB meetings, we pull back the curtain and let our clients (under non-disclosure) see behind the scenes and share with them forward-looking information. They advise us on whether what we are doing and planning to do is what will best add value to our relationship with them and their business. The focus of these sessions is advisement, not selling, which enables our clients to see us as a trusted partner who has the clients’ best interests in mind. It is a relationship-based encounter that is difficult to measure but is seen as invaluable to the company.
What is your favorite memory from Evangel?
My goodness! I could never have just one. The little things – daily life on L4N, the countless times I did the 7-minute abs video in the Mabee center with all the gym goers, intramural sports, and late-night runs to Wal-Mart. The class memories – Good to Great in Strategic Management with Dr. Dana, “they’ll eat your lunch” in Personal Finance with Dr. Wubbena, the Daily Drucker with Dr. Rhoades, SIFE projects and trips, and countless other moments that have stayed with me. The people – professors and RDs who selflessly poured into me. I rarely hear of anyone else who had a college experience like mine where a professor’s wife would bake the class the BEST cream-cheese brownies in the world, invite us over for dinner, have study groups at their home, extend their office hours to accommodate your need to ‘just talk’, or seek you out at campus events just to see how you’re doing. I remember those things more than any of the other big events or happenings on campus.
How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?
I met people at Evangel, both staff and students, who have shaped who I am and the direction my life has taken. I came into Evangel as an English Education major and left as a Business Marketing major. That was largely due to the professors who took an interest in me and helped me recognize my strengths and passions every step of the way – even today. A few of the business department professors invested time in me both in and out of the classroom and I consider them trusted advisors in my life. During undergrad and since, any time I am at a major educational or career crossroads, I still reach out to the professors who knew me when this all started. It is largely because of one EU professor that I attended Regent University and just recently earned my Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership. These professors still pray for me. They call out my strengths. They point out vulnerabilities. They share with me potential paths to pursue. They have been second parents, teachers, and friends to me.
How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?
I think more than anything, Evangel taught me how to treat people. I saw how people cared about me and others. Everybody was someone of value. For me, Evangel was about relationships. Yes, the education piece was strong, but the relationships are what have carried me throughout the last 12 years. I have friends and connections all around the world because of who I met in college. So many of the opportunities and experiences I have had in life are because of the people I met while attending Evangel.
What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
I have given this advice to everyone that I can and that is to meet and remember as many people as possible. It really is true that it is about WHO you know; networking is key! Befriend every person you can from the CEO of a company or the mayor of your town to the crossing guard in your neighborhood or the janitor in your office building. Every single person has value and you never know when what you have or who you are will be exactly what someone else needs or vice versa. More times than I can count, the last person I would think would be able to help me has been the person with the exact guidance I need.
What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?
Personability, adaptability, and resourcefulness. Given the massive dependability we have on technology, I would look for someone who still has the ability to initiate and cultivate personal relationships right off the bat. I would also look for someone who can adapt to any situation. When I started my career, I had a mentor that threw me into any and every situation he could with individuals at all levels of the company. He trusted my ability to thrive (or just survive, in some cases) in any situation he threw my way, even if it was something that I should not have been exposed to that early in my career. That helped my confidence as a new and young employee in a very aged industry, at the time. Lastly, resourcefulness. I think most of the millennial generation is very skilled at this – being able to figure things out or get what you need without needing much assistance (Thank you, Google!). Know your resources. Know how to use them. When you don’t know, ask questions and leverage who you know.